Hidden for decades, 'the Yukon gold mine of vinyl' sees light of day

Thousands of LP records, 'put under a porch in Tagish in the mid-'80s,' have been recovered, dusted off, and will be sold this weekend by Whitehorse's community radio station.

Thousands of LP records, stashed under a porch for decades, being sold off in Whitehorse this weekend

A record collector's dream: stacks and stacks of vintage vinyl, finally for sale after decades in storage. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

Attention vinyl junkies.

A large stash of used LP records, squirreled away decades ago, has been donated to Whitehorse's community radio station for a fundraising sale this weekend.

Bill Polonsky, the volunteer manager of CJUC, calls it "the Yukon gold mine of vinyl."

In fact, it may be the mother lode.

"These records came from a hoard that was put under a porch in Tagish in the mid-'80s," Polonsky said. "We went out there, and he opened up under his porch for the first time in, god, 30 years."

The vinyl vault, under Rob Hopkins' porch in Tagish. (submitted by Bill Polonsky)

The donor is Rob Hopkins, a software developer who helped launch CJUC more than a decade ago. The records are leftover stock from Frontier Electronics, a store he ran in Whitehorse in the early '80s that sold used vinyl. Others he accumulated from yard sales and other stores as they went out of business.

"So he put all these records under his porch, all covered in plastic, a very dry area. And  I would say about six months ago, he suggested that he would donate these to CJUC," Polonsky said.

Hopkins says he had originally stashed them away "for safe keeping," and to make room in his house for other things. Once they were safely stored, he just left them alone.

"I didn't want to break into them until I had a good home for them," he said. He also recently sold his house, and "part of the sale, of course, is get rid of all your junk."

Hopkins couldn't part with all his treasures, though, such as "my super-rare Electric Light Orchestra coloured vinyl, and inflatable E.L.O lightbulb... not a chance."

From 'Purple Rain' to 'Rock Lobster'. CJUC manager Bill Polonsky with a couple of modern classics. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

Moving the CJUC transmitter

Earlier this week, the records — about 3,500 of them, Hopkins says — were loaded onto a truck and delivered to CJUC's headquarters in Whitehorse. That's where they'll be up for sale this weekend.

The station, a non-commercial, volunteer-run operation, has been raising money to move its transmitter to Haeckel Hill and thereby expand its reach. 

Some of the used records are in excellent shape, while others might have a few skips or scratches. Polonsky spent this past week going through the stash and figuring out how to price them.

More bulky than a hard drive, sure, but some say the sound is 'warmer'. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

"This is a fundraiser, so we're looking to make some money off this stuff," he said. "The prices are going to reflect what we believe people will pay for them.

"If someone comes in and they want to buy 100 records, we'll cut 'em a deal, for sure."   

The sale is at Chambers House, CJUC's building in Shipyards Park, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

with files from Dave White


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